Who is a user?

The users of the Health and Social Services Network are all those who, at some point in their lives, use the services of the network. These are, for example, the pregnant woman, the anxious person, the young person in a youth center, the disabled person or person dealing with a disability, the young person with ADHD, the worker on leave, the person living with cancer, the person struggling with addiction, the in-patient in a CHSLD, the senior who lives at home and receives help from his CLSC or his loved ones. In a word, it is all of the Quebeckers. The RPCU represents them.

Users’ rights

As users of the Health and Social Services network, we have rights recognized by the Act respecting health services and social services (LSSSS).

This is the right to be informed on one’s state of health, both physical and mental, as well as on treatment options possibilities and accompanying risks and consequences. It is also the right to be informed on services available within one’s community and how to access them.

LSSSS, section 4

This is the right to receive the care and services one requires, such as examinations, specimen taking, care, treatments or any other intervention. This right is limited, depending on the availability of resources in the institutions. Services must be of good quality and delivered with continuity in a safe and personalized manner according to one’s state of health.

LSSSS, sections 5, 13 and 100

This is the right to choose one’s professional. It is also the right to choose the institution from which he or she wishes to receive the services. When an institution does not offer the required services, it accommodates the needs of the user as best it can.

LSSSS, sections 6 and 13

This is the right to receive the care required by one’s condition when one’s life is endangered. In the case of an emergency, a person unable to give his or her consent will nonetheless receive the same care. The facility’s staff members have permission to do so unless stated otherwise.

LSSSS, section 7

This is the right to say yes or say no to care, treatments or examinations. No person may be made to undergo care without his or her approval. Professionals have an obligation to provide clear and complete information so that the user can make a decision with full knowledge of the circumstances. When the user is unable or unfit, consent may be obtained from another person on their behalf according to the provisions made by the Act.

LSSSS, sections 8, 9 and 12

This is the right of the user to participate in any decision affecting his or her state of health or physical or mental wellbeing as well as in the development of the proposed intervention plan and its amendments.

LSSSS, section 10

Every user is entitled to be accompanied or assisted by a person during appointments or when receiving treatments, if the situation permits it. The person accompanying does not dictate the required services or treatments. He or she is there to be of support to the user, namely by assisting them in obtaining clear and comprehensive information. It is also a right to be represented by a person of one’s choice when one is incapable or unfit.

LSSSS, sections 11 and 12

This is the right of the user to be housed in the institution until his or her state of health allows them to return home or until they are assured admission in another institution.

LSSSS, section 14

This is the English-speaking user’s right to have staff communicate with him or her in the English language when he or she is receiving services.

LSSSS, section 15

This is the right of the user to access to his file/record, subject to certain conditions. This right also includes the right to be assisted by a professional in order to understand the information provided.

LSSSS, sections 17 to 28

This is the right of the user to have no one access the information contained in his or her medical record without his or her consent. This record is confidential and no one may have access to it without the user’s consent or the consent of an authorized person mandated by the user.

LSSSS, section 19

This is the right to lodge a complaint when one is dissatisfied with the services. The complaint must be made to the institution’s Service Quality and Complaints commissioner. The aim of this process is to improve the quality of services. User dissatisfaction is seen as a positive contribution towards this objective.

LSSSS, sections 34, 44, 53, 60 and 73

To assert his rights

When a problematic situation cannot be solved easily, or if you are still not satisfied, the Act respecting Health Services and Social Services provides a mechanism through which a user can state his or her view, be heard, understood, and respected: The Complaints Review Process, whose aim is to improve the quality of services being offered.

Improving the quality of care and services

When informed of problematic situations in which users find themselves, the institution’s management and persons responsible for services must take corrective action to remedy these situations. The primary objective is to improve the quality of care and services. Therefore, indicating dissatisfaction is an excellent way to improve the quality of care and services. It is a useful contribution, both for the individual user himself, and for all of the users at their care facility.

First, let’s talk!

Is the difficult situation in which a user finds him or herself, due to a misunderstanding? Or a simple mistake? Could it be remedied without having to lodge a complaint? The answer is YES. First of all, the user must contact the right person within the care facility: the person who is responsible for care and services. The user must give them the facts, clarify the situation and ask for an explanation. Communication, exchange and dialogue with the right person will, more often than not, solve the problem. Simply reporting a problem can be sufficient. However, sometimes it is necessary to go beyond reporting.

Who does one go to in order to lodge a complaint?

The lodging of a complaint to the bodies authorized to receive them, depends on the nature of the wrongdoing (malpractice, breach of users’ rights, breach of the institution, criminal act or violation of human rights), various legislative steps and service agreements. The Complaint Review Process is complex, but it is usually the Service Quality and Complaints Commissioner of the institution who receives the complaints. The Users’ committee of the institution may direct the user to the relevant authorities or relevant resources, and accompany him during the process. So, in each institution, a Service Quality and Complaints Commissioner is appointed to receive complaints and respond to them within 45 days. This is a requirement under the law.

Obtain Assistance or Support

A number of resources can help you if you decide to file a complaint. Do not hesitate to consult or use them.

  • User’s commitee
  • Service quality and complaints commissioner
  • Complaints assistance and support centre

Possibility of a second recourse

In the event that the user is not satisfied with the response given by the institution or with the measures put in place to resolve the situation, he or she can apply to the Quebec Ombudsperson.

Other rights…

Fundamental Human rights

The Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms sets out the fundamental rights of the individual, among which can be found the following:

  • Right to life and personal integrity
  • Right to the safeguard of one’s dignity
  • Right to respect for one’s private life
  • Right to non-disclosure of confidential Information
  • Right to integrity and inviolability
  • Right to equal recognition of rights

The Act respecting end-of-life care includes access to palliative care and medical aid in dying, as well as the possibility for establishing an advance medical directives regime. The Civil Code of Québec also provides for rights. Fundamental rights apply everywhere including in Health and Social Services institutions. Fundamental human rights are defended by the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission) while the rights of the users are defended by the Users and In-patients’ committees of each of the Health and Social Services institution.

For more information on human rights, contact the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse du Québec.

Five major missions

Health and Social Services network provide services that correspond to the five major missions and vary according to whether they are a:

  • Local community service centre (CLSC);
  • Hospital centre (CH);
  • Residential and long-term care centre (CHSLD);
  • Child and Youth Protection Centre (CPEJ);
  • Rehabilitation centre (CR).

Find out more about those five missions.

To better understand the Health and Social Services public network

The Québec health and social services system is based on two levels of management and an integrated model of health and social services. For further information on the network, consult MSSS’s website: Health and Social Services System in Brief.

Tools for users

Find out more

Users’ Rights